Summer Reading Graphic Novels for Kids

Check out these graphic novel recommendations for kids of all ages!

Check out graphic novel recommendations to promote reading and literacy while on summer break.

With summer fast approaching, many children and students are beginning to put together their summer reading lists. But not everyone is all that interested in reading. Fortunately, however, graphic novels present an alternative approach to a standard chapter book, telling a story more through appealing images than it does through text, without detracting from the story’s quality in the slightest. Let’s take a look at some of the best graphic novels you can recommend to all ages of kids and students in your life!

Graphic Novels K–2

Kids K–2 are just starting to dip their toes into the world of reading, so graphic novels are the perfect way to ease in. At this age, kids will prefer more image-centric stories with less text and simpler, more lighthearted topics. These three graphic novels fit the bill perfectly! 

  • The Owly series by Andy Runton follows Owly, a young owl always in search of adventure, and tells a heartwarming story almost entirely in pictures.
  • We Dig Worms! by Kevin McCloskey is a fascinating look into worms, their role in the environment, and the things they do all day. It’s perfect for any budding biologist!
  • The Disney Duck Tales series by Disney is a nostalgic and immensely popular series of comics and cartoons that any young child will love.


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Graphic Novels 3–5

As they enter the later grades of elementary school, kids will be interested in more exciting and nuanced plotlines in addition to engaging visuals. These three graphic novels combine both an interesting plot and enticing images, making them a perfect fit for your third through fifth graders.

  • The Cat Kid Comic Club series by Dav Pilkey is perfect for any young creative, following the story of a class of baby frogs who are part of a comic writing club, as well as the trial, error, mistakes, and learning that come with the creative process.
  • Allergic by Megan Wagner Lloyd is a relatable coming-of-age story about a girl trying to find her place in the world. Things start looking up for her when she adopts a dog, but she soon finds out that she’s allergic! From this experience, she begins a journey of self-discovery and family bonding that any kid can enjoy.
  • Tales from the Bully Box by Cat Woods is composed of several short stories on the topic of bullying and teaches empathy, kindness, and how to fight against bullying as a whole.


Graphic Novels 6–8

Middle schoolers enjoy graphic novels that either present a relatable character or a far-off fantasy, both paired with a fascinating narrative and appealing illustrations. As such, we tried to include both relatable, slice-of-life novels and fast-paced action in this list of three.

  • Frazzled by Booki Vivat is a book about a middle school girl who always seems to find herself in a panic. As the story progresses, she learns to manage her anxiety and find her Thing, her specialty and passion.
  • The Cleopatra in Space series by Mike Maihack follows Cleopatra (yes, that Cleopatra) as she is thrown headfirst into a futuristic society fighting a tyrannical emperor. It teaches messages of strength, independence, and fighting for what’s right, making it perfect for the justice-minded middle schooler.
  • Smile by Raina Telgemeier is the account of a girl who struggles to fit in because of the dental procedures she frequently undergoes and how she learns to love and accept herself, as well as find others who will do the same.


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Graphic Novels 9–12

By high school, kids are ready for more in-depth graphic novels that explore more mature themes, which can range from the struggles of a fantasy world to a unique portrayal of real-world events. Among all of the options, however, these three stand out.

  • Maus by Art Spiegelman, though using the imagery of cats and mice, is an account of the Holocaust from Spiegelman's father, a Polish Jew. Though it uses a cartoonish style, it’s a gripping read that covers the very real fight for survival Holocaust survivors went through and is a solid choice of graphic novel from start to finish.
  • The Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba series by Koyoharu Gotouge is a wildly popular Japanese manga series with an award-winning anime adaptation, so there’s a fair chance your kids or students have heard of it already. Following a brother and sister-turned-demon, the heroes fight off the threat of demons to save humanity and find a way for the sister to regain her humanity. It’s an inspiring tale of bonds, friendship, and the indomitable human spirit, persisting against all odds.
  • One Beautiful Spring Day by Jim Woodring tells the entirely wordless story of a cartoonist and his deep introspection, nerve-racking journeys, and self-revelations. It’s a deeply profound work, so anyone willing to give it a read will be better off for it.

If you’d like more literature recommendations to share this summer or want to learn more about the role literature plays in our society, feel free to visit our blog!



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